There are hundreds of possible rock-hounding locations in Texas despite the state’s poor reputation in this area.
Whether you live in Austin or have just gotten bitten by the rock-hounding bug, or you’re vacationing and taking your rock hunting passion with you, here we will look at the 20 best places to hunt rocks, crystals, and fossils in and around Austin, TX.
Rockhounding Near Austin (A Visitor’s Guide)
The information provided in this article by YesDirt.com is for informational purposes and is subject to change. Laws are updated. Accessibility guidelines and restrictions change. Be sure to confirm the land status and collection rules before you travel to an unfamiliar location or collect any material.
1. Blanco River
Drive: 1hour and 5 mins (49.9miles
Many avid rock hunters have reported that marine fossils and even dinosaur tracks can be found along the banks of the Blanco River.
Grab rock hunting tools and adventure out for surprises.
2. Lindsay Ranch Guesthouses/Mason County
Drive: 2 hours and 2min (59.9 miles)
Make it a day trip or make reservations for a few days’ stay. It might be worth it, too, as Lindsay’s Ranch Guesthouse is the most prominent place in all of Texas for finding topaz.
Visit their Ranch Museum to see the largest topaz ever found.
Other finds you may find are limestone, granite, tourmaline, sandstone, quartz, garnet, schist, petrified bones, and wood, and other artifacts have been found on the land too.
No electrical equipment is allowed except for metal detectors.
For more information and how to reserve a visit or stay, call 325-347-4052.
3. Vernon Richards Riverbend Park/ Smithville, TX
Drive: 46 min (45.3 mi)
Veron Richards Riverbend Park in Smithville, TX, is a great area to rock hunt for agate and petrified wood found in and around the area.
4. Stillwater Ranch, San Antonio, TX
Drive 1 hour and 33 minutes (93.3 miles)
Campground guests can scour the grounds for jewels at Stillwell Store and RV Park on Stillwell Ranch.
It is south of Alpine, about 8 miles from the nearest entry to Big Bend National Park. RV and tent sites are available there, and the rocks you can find are a plume of agate in black, gray, and white colors and a beautiful bouquet agate that is pastel pink, peach, orange, yellow, or red color.
Because the terrain is rugged, wear sturdy shoes or boots, hats, and clothing to protect yourself from the sun.
Stay away from brushy regions to avoid encountering snakes.
5. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, Fredericksburg, TX
Drive: 1 hour 42 minutes (96.4 miles)
Famous for its giant pink granite mountain, it is a well-known rock hunting spot among rockhounds.
The area hosts schist, granite, sedimentary rock, and exposed limestone located a few miles south of Enchanted Rock.
6. Llano River, Llano TX
Drive: 1 hour 26 min (75.4 mi)
A 1 hour, 26 min drive into Llano, go down to Llano River a few blocks downstream from the county courthouse.
Located at the intersection of East Sandstone and Ash streets, the public access point is accessible.
An excellent rock hunting ground to find all kinds of stones, like granite, mica, schist, gneiss, and quartz, to name a few.
7. Old Mason Road, Mason County, TX
Coordinates: N 30°49.538′, W 99°14.156′
At a pegmatite outcropping at the side of the road, you can park and go rock-hounding.
There is a pegmatite outcropping there brimming with granite and quartz.
8. Fly Gap Road, Mason County, TX
Drive: 1 hour 56 min (106.6 mi)
Several miles south of Highway 71, 10 miles northeast of Mason, lies a dirt road.
Pegmatite outcroppings rest on both sides of this dirt road, where findings of muscovite mica, black ilmenite crystals, orange spessartine garnets, and green epidotes have been found.
9. Seaquist Ranch, Mason, TX
Drive: 2 hours 5 min (115.9 mi)
Family-owned Seaquist Ranch is the perfect spot for finding topaz.
For a fee, dig for Texas Topaz and whatever else you can dig up.
Call to set up a reservation first to secure your spot.
They say they are closed from November -January.
10. Bar M Ranch, Mason County, TX
Drive: 24 min (11.2 mi)
Per fee ($15.00), the public is invited to search Honey Creek for topaz and other finds.
A noncommercial hunting ground, so there is topaz aplenty.
White/colorless and light blue colored topaz can be found here. Sadly, as of January 2021, the ranch is closed.
11. Little Lucy Creek, Lampasas County, TX
Drive: 1 hour 26 minutes (76.6 miles)
The coordinates are 31°09’31.6″N 98°09’40.3″W. Down at this creek; rock lovers can find celestite and calcite, widely seen along the creek’s beds.
12. Hinton Creek, San Saba County, TX
Drive: 2 hours 8 minutes (112.4 miles)
The exact coordinates are 31°00’52.2″N 99°03’52.4″W.
Located in San Sabs County, Hinton Creek hosts treasures of Chert, Chalcedony, quartz, and possible Topaz.
13. Mount Bonnell, Austin TX
Drive 14 minutes (6.1 miles)
Drive out to Covert Park to Mount Bonnell. Elevation 775 feet, you can go hiking there, and it is said that you may be able to find colorless and blue celestite there.
14. Llanite Dike, Llano TX
Drive 1 hour 22 minutes (75.4 miles)
Head into Llano (Only a 1hr 22 min drive) to find Llanite.
Only found in Llano, the Llanite dikes can be located on Texas State Highway 16.
That is just 9 miles north of Llano.
15. Streeter Area, Mason County
Coordinates: 30°45’56.1″N 99°22’46.5″W
It is located between Big and Little Bluff creeks north of U.S. Highway 377.
Tourmaline, feldspar crystals, smokey quartz, amazonite blue topaz are said to be found here.
16. Moss Ranch (Enchanted Rock), Llano, TX
Drive: 1-hour 45minuets (95.4 miles)
Located within Enchanted Rock around the Moss ranch areas, smokey quartz, pink feldspar, and epidote crystals are found.
17. Lake Brownwood Spillway/Dam, Brownwood County, TX
Drive: 2 hours 37 minutes (151.3 miles)
Fossils of starfish and sea urchins can be found around the Lake Brownwood Spillway area.
18. McKinney Falls State Park, Austin TX
Drive: 20 minutes
Onion Creek flows over limestone edges and is an excellent spot to find some fossil shells.
The extent of marine life such as the Inoceramus and Exogyra can be seen preserved in the limestone.
It is essential to note you should check first to find if you can take them.
Otherwise, taking a picture is the next best thing.
19. Mound, TX
Drive: 1 hour 39 minutes (98.0 miles)
Located in Coryell County and eight miles southeast of Gatesville, this is a fossil site.
The gems you can find are gastropods, heart urchins, and ammonite fossils.
20. The Granite Quarry, Marble Falls, TX
Drive: 59 minutes (48.4 miles)
The Granite Quarry in Marble Falls is a great spot where you can pick polished pieces and slabs of granite and pink granite from the leftover rubble.
To make sure your drive is worth it, check in with them to make sure you have permission.
It is important to remember that rock collection places change frequently.
It is possible that other collectors’ specimens have been depleted, that the site has been altered or built over, or land ownership has changed.
There are no guarantee that this list is exhaustive, despite the large number of locations listed.
The list of these locations has been listed as good places by other rock-hounding aficionados.
Again, it does not mean that it is entirely accurate.
Before you begin your hunt, always be cautious.
Do not go underground, and always obtain permission from the landowner first.
Don’t forget the most important thing. Have fun!